HANOVER, N.J. -- They are the Spike Lees of the New York Red Bulls, doctors Vince and Vance Moss, the twin brothers who sit in the club seats at Red Bull Arena directly behind the opponent's bench.But one of them had a special spot with Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch two weeks ago in the Eastern Conference semifinals, even though he was 6,000 miles away wearingcamouflageand in a war zone.
Known simply as "The Moss Brothers,"the doctorsare currently in private practice and are regulars on "The Doctors" showon television. They have also appearedinEbony andEssenceandMen's Healthamong dozens of newspapers and magazines. They were named ABC News Tonight's "Person(s) of the Year" and met former President George W. Bush.But before they became celebrity doctors, the twin brothers served asofficersin the Army Reserve Medical Corps, completing a tour of duty inIraq inMay of 2008. They have done multiple tours in not just Iraq but also Afghanistan. Now one of them is over in Iraq again, saving lives as a surgeon.
The call came out of nowhere.
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A couplemonths ago, Vincent, currently in private practice as a general andthoracic surgeon, received orders that he was going to be deployed with the Army Reserves in Iraq. It meant the brothers would be pulled apart from each other, and itwould comeright before the MLS playoffs.
The two brothers not only make every Red Bulls game, they often travel with the team on the road. They grew up playing soccer and fell in love with the MLS team a couple years ago.
Two Sundays ago in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Vance sat at the game without his brother next to him. But in the pocket of his jacket he had a little piece of his brother, and it was something he was supposed to give to Marsch, who was just named this week as MLS Coach of the Year.
Vance, from his front row seat right near the tunnel that leads to the locker room, yelled atMarschfollowingwarmupsand motioned for the head coach to come up to him. Marsch, who is usually focused before games, heard Vance's yell and walked up some stairs to get to the seats.
"He gave me a pin before the game and hugged me andsaid 'My brother has been deployed in Iraq and he wanted you to have this.' I'm honored by those guys support," Marsch told Metro. "I'm honored by their military service. It's good luck now."
In Vance's hadwas a service flag pin, a blue star on a white backdrop. Marsch put it on the lapel of his suit, just over his heart. He wore it during the game and for his post-match press conference. It went unnoticed by many but not by 'The Moss Brothers.'
The brothers have always been about service, Vince's deployment to Iraq just the latest act to help others. At 14 years old, they earned Eagle Scout distinction in the Boy Scouts, then moving on to Civil Air Patrol wheretheirinterest in the military was born. Penn State University and then medical school at Temple gave opportunities to serve others; at Temple they created a mentorship program to introduce a love for science withunderprivilegedchildren. During residency, they joined the Army Reserves.
While in the reserves, they've served in war zones numerous times. Now Vince is again overseas, something that is tough for Vance. It was reinforced two weeks ago when he sat down in their seats and his twin wasn't next to him.
"My brother and I have a significant amount of respect for Jesse and theteam.Beforeevery home game and as many away games as possible, we make it a point to show our appreciation for him as a great leader by shaking his hand or giving him a group hug," Vance told Metro.
"Jesse, in particular, reminds me of my soldiers inbattle.Asyou well know, from the beginningof the season,heovercame significant adversity to get to where he istoday.Jesseis aleader.TheRed Bull organization has an excellent strategy, objectives and execution, but, you need a leader to integratethem.
"Wefelt that when someone sees the lapel pin, most people will not know what it means, so they will look it up or google it and learn that Jesse is wearing a Blue Star Service Flag representing knowledge of a family member or friend serving during a period of war or in a hostile environment of which the US Armed Services are engaged."
The Red Bulls went out and won the game over D.C. United 1-0 to advance in the playoffs. Marschcalls the brothers "family."
"It meant so much that they wanted to give that to me, to have something from them as one of them is overseas with the armed forces,"Marschsaid. "To know that Vince is over there and wanted me and us as a team to have something while he serves our country, yea, it was an honor to put that pin on."
On Sunday, Vince will watch the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals on his cell phone, using aSlingbox to get the game. He plans to return from his deployment in time for the season opener in 2016.